President & CEO
Dawn Sweeney is the President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association, the Washington, DC-based national trade association for the nation’s $800 billion restaurant and foodservice industry.
Prior to assuming this role in October of 2007, Dawn was the President of AARP Services, the taxable business subsidiary of AARP, where she was responsible for revenue growth and new product development for the 50+ market (2002-2007), serving AARP’s 40 million members. While there, she launched AARP Financial, an SEC regulated consortium of mutual funds geared to serve AARP’s 40 million members.
From 1999 – 2002, Dawn was the Group Executive for Membership for AARP, focused on growing and diversifying AARP’s membership, relaunching AARP’s brand for greater relevance and resonance, and building the organization’s first knowledge management capability.
She served as Vice President of Market Development for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (1993-1999), a trade association serving America’s consumer-owned electric utilities and providing service to more than 30 million consumers across rural and suburban America.
Dawn was the Vice President of Marketing for the International Dairy Foods Association (1990-1994), where she launched the “milk mustache” advertising campaign and served as Director of Public Affairs (1986-1990), Manager of Education (1983-1986) and Educational Coordinator (1981-1983).
She earned a BS in Government from Colby College and an MBA in Marketing from The George Washington University. She also participated in the Harvard Business School’s inaugural “Women on Boards” program in 2016.
Dawn currently serves as Interim Co-Chair of the Board for Save the Children and as Chair of the Board of the Bryce Harlow Foundation. She has served as a member of the Board and Executive Committee of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and was recently named an “ASAE Fellow,” a designation reserved for the top one percent of association leaders in the nation. She served as 2017 co-chair of the “Spirit of Mount Vernon,” held on the grounds of Mount Vernon each Fall.
She is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Committee of 100, the International Women’s Forum, and C200, a membership organization of the world’s most innovative corporate entrepreneurs.
She has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Women’s Foodservice Forum and is a member of the judging panel for the industry’s “Gold and Silver Plate” Awards and the Association of National Advertisers’ REGGIE Awards.